Inverbervie and District Probus Club

At the meeting of October 21, Tony Rance, the speaker, gave a talk on growing up in a wartime village.

Tony was born in 1935 and raised in the small village of Bovingdon near Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire. As was typical of most villages of the time life was a fairly quiet affair by today’s standard. Children played outdoors safely and as there was no television or electronic gadgetry they made their own entertainment with friends playing the usual games such as go-carts, likely with no brakes, tree huts and perhaps some minor mischiefs.

Contrary to today’s standards, parents were supportive of anyone in authority and would side with them if there had been misbehaviour by their offspring.

At this time local shops thrived as there were no supermarkets and virtually no-one had refrigerators so most shopping was done on daily basis with shops closing at 6pm and no Sunday opening. At the outbreak of war an airfield was built and became RAF Bovingdon from where the RAF and the USAF flew missions. On odd occasions a USAF cargo plane would overrun the runway depositing some of its cargo for which there would be attempts to retrieve by the children with limited success.

Evacuees were often given accommodation in very cramped facilities with sometimes four to a bed, two up and two down with them helping with chores around the house and garden.

In 1950, at the age of 14 Tony left school and, although he had no academic qualification, got employment in accountancy and was paid £1-10 shillings a week (£1-50p in today’s money). Bovingdon is now a small town with some bad winters and 11 years ago Tony moved to Montrose and discovered that his grandfather was born in Edinburgh with other relatives in various parts of Scotland. After discussing a number of points, Tony was thanked on the call of John MacKenzie.